When the wave arrived, it was gentle in its coming. The gentleness left one unprepared for what was to come. A being in its entirety welcomed it even before the caress began. Eyes shut, lips curved in a smile, chin uplifted, nostrils flared… the wait was patient, the intent eager, as the outpouring was received.
Serene moments of what felt like nirvana.
Thus when the mist washed over…. skins trilled in happiness and hormones bloomed as one in symphony.
Sheza stilled herself to feel the rush invading her body. The sensation was intense as the pleasurable gust flew over and around, leaving her swaying on the balls of her feet. It was as though something had latched onto her and she did not wish for it to leave. Why fight the feeling of lightheadedness when all she had experienced that day was just the opposite?
Sheza did not question the swathe of warmth that enfolded her. She did not need to. There was nothing eerie about the comfort she was experiencing. It did not seem threatening at all. On the contrary, the upsurge in mood was a welcome diversion. Hence, she embraced it in all eagerness.
She had in fact, become the first among her kind to experience the invisible cloak; a mind numbing ecstasy that led to the cessation of thought. Skipping by the pavement on her way back, schoolbag perched on slender shoulders, water carrier dangling from the left wrist, Sheza found herself sinking slowly, onto her knees. Smilingly… so very softly, she allowed her head to droop.
And there she remained, savoring the sensation that coursed through her tiny body from head to toe. Wisps of stray hair uncoiled themselves from the stubby ponytail and curled and waved around her face. Poky hair stuck out to face the sky. Sheza had willingly gone under and therein grew a tidal wave that threatened to submerge mankind within its murky radiance.
From a distance, the frozen figure elicited little curiosity. The route to Sheza’s home was an offbeat one and not frequented by many. A few hours later, a family of four huddled by the girl’s side. Initial befuddlement was slowly replaced by dawning horror. They had assumed the queer posture to be a childish, flippant act!
Uneasiness, fear, concern and sympathy were thus turned into a smiling tableau of stillness.
The contagion was new. Its origin, unknown.
It did not appear to require a medium to hold on.
Air, water, soil, organisms, oral consumption, physical contact and so on…. known platforms for pandemics to proliferate were not necessary for this wave to widen its reach.
It had arrived silently – just like that.
The unseen was surging ahead and mankind did not know how to deal with this newcomer. The losses were mounting by the second and it seemed that nature would finally be free of the greatest scourge that had invaded her space. The one that had been the beneficiary of her kindness and had been digging deep into her bosom with talons that were razor sharp, leaving her grief stricken and bleeding from the wounds.
The vapor swooshed from person to person and swept away lurking unhappiness. It cleansed evil minds, erased the pollution and negativity, uplifted shoulders that were weary, imparted a jauntiness to the listless with the result that anger and the foul; turned to gentleness and tears turned to smiles.
Everywhere was seen expressions of cheer and yet, the landscape was somber. Scores and scores of men, women and children fell victim to the same faceless nemesis that ate at the blackness within their hearts, mind and, soul replacing it with a vapid positivity.
Young children are the beneficiaries of a sunny disposition… a purity that is smothered and tamped down as they course through to adulthood. It is this innocence that shines through despite the lows. So how did the wave latch on to Sheza – you may wonder?
The child had cleared her exams with ease yet failed to graduate to the next grade. Acute disappointment and the heartbreak that accompanied were intensified with the awareness that the present situation was well beyond her control.
Sheza’s parents were poor you see, and they could ill afford to pay the school fees. This was the second time she had been sent home with a reprimand. The next one she was told would ensure her permanent stay at home. Quite a heavy baggage for a small child to carry back don’t you think?
The wave liked what it saw.
Sheza had been handpicked for the occasion.
Someone had to begin the show.
For the healer to prevail and stem the rot.
Justice can be skewed sometimes.
My story ‘Curveball’ has been inspired from the topic provided (Pandemic) wherein, an alternate scenario has been created minus the lockdown – a hypothetical situation so to speak. The place is quite like our own however; this is where the familiarity ends.
A catastrophe is waiting to happen as an unseen doom lurks around the corner. The little girl Sheza unknowingly becomes the catalyst following which events are set in motion. Although the situation seemed harrowing, the purpose behind the engulfing is clear. Finally when the pace slackens and comes to a grinding halt, the world will be perceived to be far more beautiful and infinitely happier than what it is at present.
Photo by: Pixabay
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